Senate Democratic leaders pushed back from talk of a pending deal on long-stalled electronic surveillance legislation on Tuesday, as speculation increased that a deal on a controversial update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was in the works.
“There has been some progress made, even though I disagree with [it],” said Reid, who has expressed reservations about granting telecommunications companies retroactive immunity for participating in the wiretapping program, the key sticking point in the debate.
On Monday, Senate and House aides from both parties told Politico that negotiators on the FISA bill have finalized a compromise that would allow federal courts to determine if a telecommunications company should receive immunity from lawsuits stemming from warrant less wiretaps.
Reid also cautioned observers not to get too excited by media reports of a pending deal, saying he has been hearing for weeks that a deal was imminent, only to have the potential deal fall apart.
‘If it is done, I still have to read it…and talk to Steny Hoyer,” said Reid, referring to the House Majority Leader, who has been the Democrats point man on the issue in the House.
Democratic leadership aides told Politico that there would not be FISA bill coming to the floor until at least next week, as House and Senate leaders are still trying to work out which chamber goes first in considering compromise bill.
“I think with the rules they have in the House, it would be much easier if they started there,” said Reid.
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